UK calls for investigation into Libya 'murder'

The UK government has called on Libyan authorities to investigate the "murder" of a British man and New Zealand woman found dead on a beach in western Libya.

Their bodies were discovered near a gas and oil facility in Mellitah by Libyan security forces on Thursday afternoon.

The New Zealand Foreign Ministry said it was working closely with British consular staff in Libya.

The UK Foreign Office has not yet named the British man but said it was in contact with his family.

The Foreign Office said it was "deeply saddened by the murder" of the pair.

A spokesman said: "Our charge d'affaires has raised the shooting with the Libyan authorities and we are liaising closely with them on follow-up.

"We call upon the Libyan government to carry out a thorough investigation into this tragic incident and to continue to do all it can to bring to justice the perpetrators of this appalling crime, as it strives to build strong rule of law in Libya."

'Exact circumstance'

A statement from the New Zealand Foreign Ministry said: "The ministry can confirm the death of a New Zealander and a British national near the city of Sabratha in Libya.

"We are working closely with British consular staff who have travelled from Tripoli to Sabratha. We are in contact with the next of kin and providing consular assistance.

"The exact circumstance of their deaths is not yet clear and will be subject to an investigation by the Libyan authorities.

"The deceased New Zealander was normally resident in New Zealand and was visiting Libya. The family of the New Zealander have requested privacy and asked that no further details be released publicly."

BBC world affairs correspondent Paul Adams said a photograph on the internet, yet to be verified, showed two bodies lying face down in the sand.

The belongings of the two victims were apparently untouched and the motive for the killings remains unclear.

A Libyan security source said: "Their bodies were found near the coastal area of Mellitah."

Mellitah is near the town of Zuwarah, 60 miles (100km) west of Tripoli.

The area is home to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italian company ENI.

The killings came a month after a US teacher was shot dead while out for a run in the eastern city of Benghazi, after which the Foreign Office said further attacks against Westerners were likely and could be opportunistic.

A week ago, four American military personnel were briefly detained not far from Mellitah.

The New York Times reported that they were working on potential evacuation plans for American government employees.

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